Akiko Pavolka - vocalist, songwriter, musician, bandleader

Akiko Pavolka

CD "Mahoroba" reviews in Jazz Journal (UK) and The New York City Jazz Record

01 Jan. New review of CD "Mahoroba" from JAZZ JOURNAL (UK)

Here is another nice review of CD "Mahoroba" that I received from Brian Morton of British Jazz magazine JAZZ JOURNAL December 2012 issue! Thank you!



You'd need to have sharp ears or to have spotted the clue in her first name to identify the singing language here. There's a quality to Pavolka's voice that suggests the Romance languages rather than Japanese, and the rock-influenced arrangements heighten the effect. She began in that genre, but House of Illusion has been operation for 15 years now with varying personnels and has evolved into a strong contemporary outfit with an unusual and indefinable angle on jazz/pop. The tow most obvious strengths, apart from Pavolka's haunting voice, are the songs themselves and Loren Stillman's lyrical. tough-tender saxophone.

Mahoroba relates to a blissful realm beyond the seas, Tir na Og, or the isles of the Blest, some such place, and there is an upbeat, otherworldly quality to much of the material, not without a certain chastening sorrow, which is perhaps the jazz element. The group sounds very comfortable working as a unit. Guitar and piano blend neatly and with just enough loose harmonic edges to retain an open, edgy feel. Husband Matt Pavolka and Bill Campbell keep it steady but flexed and mobile and when Stillman cuts loose over a rolling vamp on Macaroni Western, any suspicion of mere prettiness disappears.

Tango adds a further level of ambiguity to the multicultural feel of the music, doesn't quite make it as an example of that form, but stands up strongly on its own terms nonetheless, with another delicately etched saxophone solo pushed front and centre. Should Jordi Pujol be putting out this kind of thing on a jazz imprint? You bet! It's terrific.

Brian Morton
Jazz Journal December 2012

18 Dec. A nice review of new CD "Mahoroba" from The New York City Jazz Record !

I am very pleased to share a fine review from The New York City Jazz Record November 2012 issue! To read the whole text, please click the link of the PDF file. Thank you!

“Deeply felt vocals sung in Japanese against a band perfectly in tune with her timbre and phrasing define pianist/vocalist Akiko Pavolka’s Mahoroba… Pavolka’s voice is deeply resonant, hyper-mature in a way and carries with it a gorgeous round resonance… her piano style is measured and likewise richly tonal, imparting an overall harmony to compositions that stylistically borrow from and blend together pop, jazz and Japanese balladry.”

– Elliott Simon, The New York City Jazz Record

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